Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Diane Wahto’

Genesis by Diane Wahto

Diane WahtoWhen those two people, cold, armored, fortified

against the assaults they had fought and conquered,

when those two faced each other, foundered,

grasped hands to make promises, to forge an accord,

in the almost empty church in front of the preacher

on a Saturday night, in front of her mother, his mother,

his father dead, her father deaf to anyone’s needs

but his own small ones,

when they left the church and went to the small

apartment just down the block that they would call

home until the first baby started to crawl,

when they shared a bed for the first time,

unfamiliar touches, awkward kisses, crossed a line

that she had not crossed before, he making a fine

show of manhood the first time. Then came the sun,

a bright light in the bedroom. They arose, put on

their wedding clothes, and went to church,

as was their habit.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize, 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Last Night I Dreamed by Scott McCloud

scottLast night I dreamed that young beautiful men danced

around me in my dusty chore clothes. The hems

of their long coats were frayed and spinning.

They worked me over like a choir. Beckoning

“choose me, pick this, why not here?

Why not this?”

Last week during the Sanctus my arms

rose on instinct, a ghosted gunrise

on a rooster pheasant.


Like some screwball charismatic, but

I heard the wingbeats. My life list

of birds grows daily.

But it isn’t a secret anymore. Dun quails whisper

“make some trouble over me. I am

worthy of sacrifice.”

My head is clean. My feet and hands are washed.

I have been here many times and for many times

this will come after.

Bio: Scott McCloud teaches, farms and writes near Walton, Kansas. His chapbook, Tallgrass Prairie Burn Cycle (2011 Full Metal Faith Press) features prairie, farming, sexuality and prayer as intimates. Market gardens, birding, hunting and fishing are touchstones and a childhood of churchly work ruptures his craft. He blogs at http://originalface.tumblr.com  samccloud@gmail.com

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

Moonstain by Ronda Miller

RondaMillerBarn doors pushed closed an

indication something worth investigating

was within. It took all my strength to

slide to open, close again.

 

New birth in pungent urgency led

me to the still born calf quite warm. I

nestled into the hay beside it, placed

my arms around its neck.

 

I knew what death was—had

listened to whispers about my

mother’s not long before. I could

hear the mother cow’s loud bawling

from outside the back barn door.

 

I felt the spirit lift from the calf, swirl

around me, disappear. It grew cold;

I felt damp fear.

 

I sat in the caliginous stall

until my sister came, took my

hand, ran with me past my grandmother’s

garden of hollyhocks, iris, strawberries,

rhubarb, past the spot where the

rattler soaked up water from a sprinkler

one August day, past the rotten elm where

winged fire ants swarmed in balls before

they tumbled to the ground.

 

We opened the rusted screen door, tiptoed

to bed where I lay crying, because it

felt so wondrous, because it felt so good,

until the moon’s stain no longer

spread across the floor.

Bio: Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is Youth Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club, District 2 President, and a Life Coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include The Smithsonian Institute. 

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

August by Tyler Sheldon

Tyler Sheldon PhotoSeeds explode like fire against the neighbor’s garage

or hang mortified like bodies

from the sycamore out front.

My father walks with leaden pipe in hand

(dog insurance, he says)

as downstreet the Akita runs his length of iron chain,

hoping it will snap.

 

I am barefoot and fifteen

and the concrete boils before me

as the mail truck pulls away

into the hallucinatory shimmer of the street.

I run out like time,

And life itself hangs in the balance.

Bio: Tyler Sheldon is the Press Manager for Flint Hills Review, and is a Creative Writing student at Emporia State University. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as Tulgey Wood, Quivira, Periphery, Thorny Locust, and eleven to seven, and is forthcoming in I-70 Review. The 2012 anthology To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices featured his poem “Fall” alongside work by Kansas Poet Laureates Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Denise Low. He has self-published a chapbook, Being (American). tyrsheldon@gmail.com

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

Udall, Kansas by Myrne Roe

                                May 25, 1955

The man uneasy left their bed.

His wife sleeping on her back

hands crossed at her neck clutching

a linen sheet as if it might escape.

Air hot and cold weighed heavy

on his chest, stole his breath.

At ten thirty he checked t.v. and radio,

got static for his efforts.

A calico paced up and down stairs,

mewling as if calling lost kittens.

The man and cat were students of storms,

big and not, sent each spring to Kansas.

He couldn’t see out the kitchen door

unless lightening zigged and zagged,

threw bolts that made shadows

of the grain elevator and water tower.

A train whistle blew and blew.

The man feared the engineer

meant a warning because he saw evil drop,

churn earth into debris as it charged toward town.

The news at ten issued all clear

so he had assumed only a thunderstorm.

Now he thought he’d better call his wife,

secure them both beneath the kitchen table.

By then it was ten thirty-five

and the most powerful Kansas tornado ever,

bore down on Udall with whirling, roaring

homicidal winds bent on fostering hell.

Dawn covered the awful result with pale light.

Silence wandered like a ghost

amid uprooted trees planted a hundred years ago,

houses without roofs and doors,

a telephone pole piercing the side of a church,

broken glass filling a bathtub.

Rescuers found death and affliction

in rooms without walls, flattened cars,

fields stripped of crops. flooded spaces.

The calico cat hid under a rain-soaked sofa.

No one found the man or his wife,

their house cleaved into splinters.

Reporters and cameramen hastened into the town

to find their story. Amid the ruins

one of them wrote,  “The little town of Udall

died in its sleep last night.”

Myrne Roe write, “I am a retired editorial writer and syndicated columnist who has been writing poetry for fifteen years. My poems have been published in local and regional publications including ByLine Magazine, Voices of the Heartland, Words Out of the Flatlands and Kansas Voices. I have also published a chapbook, Ironing Out the Wrinkles.” myrne@cox.net

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

My Mother Ironing by Diane Wahto

Diane WahtoHer shoulders bend over the ironing board. In one hand,

a Coke bottle topped with a metal sprinkler.

In her other hand, the heavy iron, radiating heat.

She lifts clothes, starch-stiff, fresh from the clothesline.

They, empty ghosts, exude sun and spring.

The radio is on.

Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa on drums,

The iron in my mother’s hand moves with the music,

makes intricate patterns across shirts, sheets,

blouses, dresses, trousers. She presses her mark

into each piece. Her mouth a determined line

across the planes of her face.

~ Diane Wahto

Bio: Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest Editor James Benger is husband and writer. His work has been featured in Coal City Review, Comma,Splice, Hoarding Words, Kansas City Voices, Kiosk, Periphery, Runaway Pony, Thorny Locust and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebooks, Flight 776 and Jack of Diamonds are available from most digital retailers. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.

After by Diane Wahto

He says, if you dieDiane Wahto

before I do, I will cancel

the cable, get an antenna,

rabbit ears.

I will move our money

to a credit union

I will put a basket on

my bike, ride

it to the grocery

store, shop daily

for my food,

European style.

She listens, thinks of

the void her absence

will make, the hole in

the world they inhabit,

clawing their way to

get to this place.

She thinks of the

shadow that would fall

on her if he would go

before. Thinks,

but does not say,

does not want to say

such a thing aloud

into the lamp-lit room.

She turns her face

to the dark outside

the window, to the

quarter moon.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto, a retired Butler Community College English instructor, lives with her husband, and two dogs in Wichita. Her three children and five grandchildren live in Lawrence and Shawnee, Kansas. Recently, her poems “the Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging.

Ronda Miller, March’s Guest Editor, is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club and their District 2 President. Her goal in both positions is to encourage people from all backgrounds and ages to appreciate and write poetry. As a Life Coach who specializes in working with those who have lost someone to homicide, she appreciates the multitude of voices and the healing power of the written and spoken word. Her quote, ‘Poetry is our most natural connection among one another’ best exemplifies her belief in poetry. Her words can be found in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices, Going Home: Poems from My Life and online in The Shine Journal – The Light Left Behind, Zingara Poet, Kansas Time + Space, and hard copy publications such as The Lawrence Journal World. She authored documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express and created poetic forms Loku and Ukol.

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